Jonah

Jonah, the reluctant prophet. Tasked with a job he really doesn’t want. To tell a nation he hates that God is going to deal with them. Rather than do that, he jumps on a ship and heads off in another direction. Running from God? I’m not sure about that in the literal sense – he know’s he can’t hide from God. In Psalm 139 the Message paraphrase it’s put like this:
I’m an open book to you;
    even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back;
    I’m never out of your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say
    before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you’re there,
    then up ahead and you’re there, too
 
And in Hebrews 4:13 more starkly
 And (no one) is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. 
 
So he knows he can’t run away from God. The question is, if he didn’t want to do what God asked him to do, why not stay put? Why get in a boat? Clearly he wanted to get away from God’s presence – that objective is repeated twice in verse v3. So what did he decide to do? To go somewhere where God wasn’t known. To hide in a culture where he wouldn’t be confronted by God through all that surrounded him.
We do that too – we sometimes want to ‘hide’ from God – to get out of the glare of his stare. How do we do that? We shut ourselves off from God’s people.We shun church, we don’t spend time with his people – we mix with others. We distract ourselves – we fill our time with activity, and business, and play. None of which is bad – but all of which is bad if it means we are closing out ears to God.
 
Friends, we can’t hide from God. We have a God who in his love pursues us, and he does so for a purpose – to be his voice in this world. Jonah slept in the boat while a storm raged outside. Those in the storm needed him, and couldn’t believe he was sleeping. 
 
Are we sleeping? Are we being indifferent to the storm around us? The world needs us. We have the message of a new Kingdom that is good news. We can’t keep it to ourselves, that’s not what we are to do. We have to share it – because God in his sovereignty will use us way beyond what we can imagine.
 
Church – we can’t sleep. People are in a storm, a Godless storm that leads to destruction. We need to wake up, and tell them that there is a Jesus who loves them and can still the storm.
 
Who needs to hear from you this week. Who is looking at you expectantly, longing for you to wake up and tell them what God wants them to hear, and what they need to hear?